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Class War For Idiots / Tea Party / April 17, 2010

Stalin-Tea-Party

This article was first published on Alternet.org

“I would rather live under a bridge than live under socialism”

—tea bagger slogan

 

Everyone knows that Tea Party revolutionaries fear and hate socialism about as much as the Antichrist. Which is funny, because the Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that it owes its existence to the grandaddy of all Antichrists: the godless empire of the USSR.

What few realize is that the secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation of Soviet oil infrastructure.

The comrades were good to the Kochs. Today Koch Industries has grown into the second-largest private company in America. With an annual revenue of $100 billion, the company was just $6.3 billion shy of first place in 2008. Ownership is kept strictly in the family, with the company being split roughly between right-wing brothers Charles and David Koch, who are worth about $20 billion apiece and are infamous as the largest sponsors of right-wing causes. They bankroll scores of free-market and libertarian think tanks, institutes and advocacy groups. Reason magazine, Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute are just a few of Koch-backed free-market operations. Greenpeace estimates that the Koch family shelled out $25 million from 2005 to 2008 funding the “climate denial machine,” which means they outspent Exxon Mobile three to one.

I first learned about the Kochs in February 2009, when Mark Ames and I were looking into the strange origins of the then-nascent Tea Party movement. Our investigation led us again and again to a handful of right-wing organizations and think tanks directly tied to the Kochs. We were the first to connect the dots and debunk the Tea Party movement’s “grassroots” front, exposing it as billionaire-backed astroturf campaign run by free-market advocacy groups FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity, both of which are closely linked to the Koch brothers.

fredkoch

But the Tea Party movement—and Koch family’s obscene wealth—go back more than half a century, all the way to grandpa Fredrick C. Koch, one of the founding members of the far-rightwing John Birch Society which was convinced that evil socialism was taking over America through unions, colored people, Jews, homosexuals, the Kennedys and even Dwight D. Eisenhower.

These days, the Kochs paint themselves as true-believer Libertarians of the Austrian School. Charles Koch, the elder brother who runs the family business in Wichita, Kansas, quotes the wisdom of proto-libertarian “economist” Ludwig von Mises, but also sees himself as a thinker in his own right. In 2007, Charles made his contribution to the body of free-market thought with an economic theory he calls Market-Based Management® (trademark protected, of course), which he lays out in a book titled the Science of Success. A Forbes reviewer seemed a bit disturbed by Charles’ overt socialist leanings, writing that the “author professes an almost Marxist faith in the ‘fixed laws’ that ‘govern human well-being.’”

David Koch is the highbrow brother who lives in New York. He ran as the Libertarian party candidate for vice-president in 1980 and says that his dream is to “minimize the role of government, to maximize the role of private economy and to maximize personal freedoms.” Apparently everyone’s a free-market enthusiast at Koch Industries, including their spokeswoman, who recently wrote a letter to the New York Times stating that “it’s a historical fact that economic freedom best fosters innovation, environmental protection and improved quality of life in a society.” It might be true somewhere for someone, but not for the Kochs—they owe it all to socialism and totalitarianism.

01rich10

Here is a better historical fact, one that the Kochs don’t like to repeat in public: the family’s initial wealth was not created by the harsh, creative forces of unfettered capitalism, but by the grace of the centrally-planned economy of the Soviet Union. This deserves repeating: The Koch family, America’s biggest pushers of the free-market Tea Party revolution, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the whim of one of Stalin’s comrades.

The story of how the Koch family amassed its socialist wealth starts at the turn of the 20th century with the birth of Fredrick C. Koch. Fred was born in a tiny town in north Texas town to a Dutch immigrant and newspaper publisher. The historical record is not clear about the family’s wealth, but it appears that great-granddaddy Koch was not hurting for cash, because Fred Koch turned out to be a smart kid and was able to study at MIT and graduate with chemical engineering degree. A few years later, in 1925, Fred started up the Winkler-Koch Engineering Company with a former classmate, quickly developing and patenting a novel process to refine gasoline from crude oil that had a highe-yield than anything on the market. It was shaping up to be an American success story, where anything was possible with a bit of elbow grease and good ol’ ingenuity.

The sky was the limit—until the free market rained on Fred’s parade.

See, Fred was living through the Roaring Twenties, a time of big business, heavy speculation and zero government regulation. Much like today, cartels were free to form and free to fix—and so they did. Sensing a threat to their royalty-revenue stream from Winkler-Koch’s superior refining technology, the reigning oil cartel moved in to teach the young Koch how the laissez-faire business model worked in the real world.

“[W]hen he tried to market his invention, the major oil companies sued him for patent infringement. Koch eventually won the lawsuits (after 15 years in court), but the controversy made it tough to attract many US customers,” according to Hoover’s Company Records service. Just like that, Winkler-Koch Engineering found itself squeezed out of the American market. They had a superior product at a cheaper price, but no one to sell it to.

Luckily, there was one market where opportunity beckoned—and innovation was rewarded: the Soviet Union.

Stalin’s first Five Year Plan was just kicking into action a nation-wide industrialization effort, and the Soviet planners needed smart, industrious college grads like Fred Koch. The Soviet Union was desperately trying to increase its oil refining capacity, so oil engineers were especially in high demand—and well paid, too.

“We are the world’s greatest market, and we are prepared to order a large amount of goods and pay for them,” Joseph Stalin told an American journalist in 1932. Stalin wasn’t kidding. From 1926 to 1929, the Soviet oil industry bought $20 million worth of equipment from America. And Koch was about to get in on the action.

In 1929, after hosting a delegation of Soviet planners in Wichita, Kansas, Winkler and Koch signed a $5 million contract to build 15 refineries in the Soviet Union. According to Oil of Russia, a Russian oil industry trade magazine, the deal made Winkler–Koch into Comrade Stalin’s Number One refinery builder. It provided equipment and oversaw construction:

The first Winkler–Koch plants were set up in Tuapse in 1930. The cracking unit operated commendably, and would in the future be the type preferred by the heads of the Soviet Union’s petroleum industry when purchasing new cracking equipment.

In 1931, two Winkler–Koch cracking units were launched in Baku, another two in Batumi, and six at once in Grozny; the last had a combined refining capacity of 900,000 tons per year. In 1932, a Winkler–Koch unit commenced operations in Yaroslavl.

At the time, the Soviet Union’s oil industry was a total mess. Equipment built by Western engineering firms was always breaking down or didn’t work at all. Western engineers were constantly being accused of espionage or sabotage, real or imagined, and booted out of the country. Soviet workers suspected of colluding with the foreigners were simply taken out back and shot. Winkler-Koch made sure they were running a tight, effective operation. Unlike their Western competitors, Koch pleased his Soviet clients by ensuring top quality and helping the cause of socialism.

Koch and Stalin

Koch lived up to the slogan: “Work hard enough for Comrade Stalin to thank you!”

The Soviet oil planners were delighted with Koch’s refineries, which “operated commendably, and would in the future be the type preferred by the heads of the Soviet Union’s petroleum industry when purchasing new cracking equipment.” The Communists were so impressed they kept giving Winkler-Koch business and regularly sent Soviet engineers to train in Wichita. It was a sign of growing mutual trust.

By the time he got out in 1933, Koch earned $500,000, which was a ton of money for a kid fresh out of college. This nut of money served as the foundation for the family’s future wealth, which Koch no doubt started acquiring at rock-bottom prices. After all, 1933 was one of the two worst years of the Great Depression—all assets were priced to go at 90% off. In the end, the capitalist-hating socialists ended up treating Koch fairly, way better than the monopolistic thrashing he got from his native land. So you’d think he’d at least something good to say about the Soviet Union when he got home?

Nope, not at all. He hated the Commies real bad. But for some reason he kept it to himself until the late 1950s (possibly because he was still doing work for the Soviet Union). Then, after coming back from a trip to the Soviet Union in 1956, he flies off the handle. According to a 1956 AP article, Fred Koch was among eleven prominent residents of Wichita, Kansas, “left for Moscow by plane today in an effort to convince the Russian people that Soviet propaganda about capitalists is untrue.” Sounds like the perfect cover for a business trip.

It’s not clear what he was actually doing there. But whatever the outcome—maybe he didn’t get the contract he was expecting or maybe he got swindled out of some investment or maybe he plain ol’ hated the thaw of post-Stalin Russia—Fred Koch came back a pissed-off anti-Communist freak and joined up with the right-wing Bircher freak show. He bankrolled a John Birch Society chapter in Wichita and attempted to open a Bircher bookstore, which wasn’t too popular and had to close.

He warned of a massive Communist conspiracy to take control of America, saying that the Reds were eroding American universities, churches, political parties, the media and every branch of government. “Maybe you don’t want to be controversial by getting mixed up in this anti-communist battle,” Koch said in a speech to a Women’s Republican Club in 1961. “But you won’t be very controversial lying in a ditch with a bullet in your brain.” Strong words for a strong Stalin Queen—must’ve rocked the stockings off the Bircher groupies.

In 1961, Koch published a pamphlet called “A Businessman Looks At Communism,” in which he recounted his travels with a “hardcore Communist” named Jerome Livshitz. It was from him Fred Koch had first learned about the commie conspiracy to take over America:

The government detailed a little man by the name of Jerome Livshltz to go around to our various installations with me. Livshitz had taken part in the revolution of 1905, and had spent twelve years in the U.S.A. as a revolutionary, most of the time in jails….

In the months I traveled with him he gave me a liberal education in Communist techniques and methods. He told me how the Communists were going to infiltrate the U.S.A. in the schools, universities, armed forces and to use his words, “Make you rotten to the core.” I believe that due to his American experience he was one of the original architects of the Communist plan of subversion of the U.S.A.

My associate and I pulled him from under an overturned car in Tiflis, and he was amazed. “Why did you save my life?” he said. “We are enemies. I would not have saved you. Perhaps when the turn there, I will spare your lives.” He told me that if his own mother stood in the way of the revolution he would strangle her with his bare hands. This is the mark of a hard-core Communist. They will do anything—anything.

Fred Koch’s paranoia continued to spiral out of control until his thumper quit in 1967. But by that time his son, Charles G. Koch, had already taken over control of the family business. He appropriated his father’s Communist paranoia and made it the basis for the family’s free-market business philosophy.

“Once, my father ran a business in the ex-Soviet Union, and all engineers who worked with my father were imprisoned by Stalin later. My father, who had experienced this, became an anti-communist and thought the value of economical freedom and prosperity was more important than ever before,” Charles said during an interview with a Korean newspaper in 2008, leaving out the part how evil socialist cash is the foundation of the Koch family’s wealth.

Once he took over, it was clear that Charles had big plans for Koch Industries. He was going to push the limits of corporate growth by plowing 90% of the company’s profits back into till and diversifying to the max. It worked. The company expanded at an unreal rate: its revenues increased from $100 million in 1966 to $100 billion in 2008—that’s 1,000-fold growth!

Today, it operates thousands of miles of pipelines in the United States, refines 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily, it buys and sells the most asphalt in the nation, is among the top ten cattle producers, and is among the 50 largest landowners. Koch Industries also plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into right-wing organizations like Institute for Humane Studies, the Cato Institute, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Reason Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Federalist Society—all of them promoting the usual billionaire-friendly ideas of the free market, deregulation and smaller government.

If that expansion looks too fast to be legit, that’s because it was.

William Koch, the third brother who had a falling-out with Charles and David back in the ’80s over Charles’ sociopathic management style, appeared on “60 Minutes” in November 2000 to tell the world that Koch Industries was a criminal enterprise: “It was – was my family company. I was out of it,” he says. “But that’s what appalled me so much… I did not want my family, my legacy, my father’s legacy to be based upon organized crime.”

Charles Koch’s racket was very simple, explained William. With its extensive oil pipe network, Koch Industries’ role as an oil middleman–it buys crude from someone’s well and sells it to a refinery–makes it easy to steal millions of dollars worth of oil by skimming just a little off the top of each transaction, or what they call “cheating measurements” in the oil trade. According to William, wells located on federal and Native American lands were the prime targets of the Koch scam.

“What Koch was doing was taking all these measurements and then falsifying them on the run sheets,” said Bill Koch. “If the dipstick measured five feet 10 inches and one half inch, they would write down five feet nine and one half inches.”

That may not sound like much, but Bill Koch said it added up. “Well, that was the beauty of the scheme. Because if they’re buying oil from 50,000 different people, and they’re stealing two barrels from each person. What does that add up to? One year, their data showed they stole a million and a half barrels of oil.”

In 1999, William decided to take his brothers down. He sued Koch Industries in civil court under the False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to file suit on behalf of the federal government. William Koch accused the company of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in oil from federal lands.

The band of brothers settled the case two years later, with Charles agreeing to pay $25 million in penalties to the federal government to have the suit dismissed. It turned out to be a great deal for Charles and David, considering that in the 1980s their “adjustments” allowed Koch Industries to siphon off 300 million gallons of oil without paying. It was pure profit–free money–to the tune of $230 million.

At the trial, 50 former Koch gaugers testified against the company, some in video depositions. They said employees even had a term for cheating on the measurements.

“We in the company referred to it as the Koch Method because it was a system for cheating the producer out of oil,” said one of the gaugers, Mark Wilson.

Ah, finally! We’ve stumbled upon the secret to the family’s success! At the bottom of it all, the Koch Method that funds all the libertarians is nothing but good old-fashioned plunder. Or, as Koch hero Ludwig von Mises might say, “The Koch Method is just an unceasing sequence of single scams.”

Yasha Levine is a mobile home inhabitin’ editor of The eXiled. He is currently stationed in Victorville, CA. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.

Further reading

1. A People’s History of Koch Industries, Part II: Libertarian Billionaires Charles and David Koch Are Closetcase Subsidy Kings Who Milk Big Government Tyranny, But Want To Slash Spending On Anyone Else

2. The investigation that broke the Tea Party movement wide open: “Exposing the Rightwing PR Machine: Is CNBC’s Rick Santelli Sucking Koch”

3. CNBC Bitch-Slaps Santelli Into Line, FreedomWorks Admits It Organized “Grassroots” Tea Parties, Jon Stewart Cancels Santelli & Megan McArdle Queefs On Our Founding Fathers

4. How FreedomWorks Gave Teabaggers a Dirty Sanchez

5. AstroTurf Revolution Dispatch: Activists Teabag Media

6. Freemarket Failures: Investors Prefer Doing Business With Hugo Chavez Over Billionaire Koch Brothers

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106 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Dr. Luny  |  April 17th, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Ah, the glories of true journalism. Compare this to what you read in a newspaper and ask yourself why no one reads newspapers anymore.

  • 2. Allen  |  April 17th, 2010 at 3:36 am

    This is good stuff Yasha; here’s hoping you go viral — you might help resuscitate America’s ability to appreciate irony.

  • 3. Sue Cohen  |  April 17th, 2010 at 4:19 am

    GREAT ARTICLE! Thank you!

    I have been emailing like mad trying to get people to see the vast influence of these goons.

    They did not wait for the Supreme Court ruling about corporate money–their very wholly owned Pat Toomey former President of Koch funded Club for Growth may be the first 100% owned Senator if voters in PA do not wake up!

    It looks like Koch Industries plowed over 25 million back in 1993-1994 to the Republicans to help Newt Gingrich and his Contract ON America–

    Keep up the good work!

  • 4. napoleonkaramazov  |  April 17th, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Good investigative journalism.

    However
    “By the time he got out in 1933, Koch earned $500,000, which was a ton of money for a kid fresh out of college……..
    So you’d think he’d at least something good to say about the Soviet Union when he got home?”

    This is a bit of a weak arguement.
    No amount of money would make me have something good to say about the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Obviously, he is still a hypocrite though.

  • 5. Fissile  |  April 17th, 2010 at 6:55 am

    It’s a good piece, Yasha, but it’s been my observation that logic, facts and reason never did sway the masses, and probably never will. Took me a long time to get this figured out, that’s why I’m poor.

    Case in point: My elderly neighbor, the WWII “veteran”.

    Any way, the dude that lives across the street is in his early eighties. After attending public (socialist) schools through the 12 grade, he joined the Army Air Corp in summer of 1945. While in training, Curtis “Bomb Them Back To The Stone Age” LeMay gave the Japanese an atomic suntan, and put the Empire of the Rising Sun out of business for good. As a result, the neighbor in question is technically a WWII vet, even though he never saw a shot fired in anger. He was “entitled” to the all the rights and privileges that were showered on the “Greatest Generation”.

    After spending a couple of years on occupation duty — being paid by the taxpayer, he returned to the US, and attended college for free under the GI Bill (more socialism).

    His first job was with a defense contractor. 90% of this “private” company’s business was made up of no-bid “cost plus fee” government contracts.

    His second job — where he remained until retirement — was also with a “private” defense contractor — same deal as the one mentioned above.

    This neighbor did well for himself — paid house, new luxury car ever three years, nest egg of over a million, good pension, health care for life, etc.

    To sum up: Attended public schools — socialism. Joined Army — organization supported by tax dollars. Received government paid college education — more socialism. Spent his entire career working on government projects — yet more socialism.

    Do you think this man is grateful for the the benefits that socialism has provided him? You betcha! He shows his gratitude by ranting against school taxes, and that “commie Obama”. After all, he got everything he has today, “by myself, with no help from anyone”.

  • 6. Myf  |  April 17th, 2010 at 7:25 am

    damn

  • 7. brian  |  April 17th, 2010 at 7:46 am

    As the Koch’s might well say of the Tea Baggers (to quote Lenin)
    Useful idiots

  • 8. aleke  |  April 17th, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Wow even Koch knew how good the Soviet Union/Stalin was. Kool, real refreshing after a bunch of Nazi-sympathizers and CIA goons have been dragging the Soviet people’s name through the mud.

  • 9. James  |  April 17th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Just wanted to point out that the Korean newspaper that is referenced in this article is the Chhoson IlBo, a Newspaper with a record of being apologists for the Japanese Imperial occupation of Korea, and later for the the military dictatorships in S.K.

    Nice folks with nice friends.

  • 10. Plamen petkov  |  April 17th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    deliberately confusing communism, socialism and what is going on in USA today just to prove your point only serves to confuse the already confused sheeple. Just letting you know.

  • 11. CapnMarvel  |  April 17th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Excellent work. True journalism of a disappearing sort. I work with oil companies as an environmental engineering consultant (my specialty being the EPA regulation of benzene, the same rule under which Koch was nailed some years back at their Corpus refinery) and let me tell you – even amongst the slippery pit-of-snakes world of major oil refiners, Koch stands out as secretive, paranoid, and calculating. Much more than simply a reflection of recent decisionmaking, your article shows us it’s truly the Koch business model. Keep up the good work and make sure to kick over some other rocks in the oil and gas industries.

  • 12. Joe Stack's Financial Advisor  |  April 17th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Tea Partiers are deluded at best. Obama and his administration aren’t even socialists! If you wanted to slap a label on them, it would have to be corporatists. Public health-care isn’t helping the government, it’s helping the health insurance corporations acquire the bottom 30%! How difficult is that to understand? These poor people go rallying about not even understanding what they are espousing. Truly sad.

  • 13. Diet Coke  |  April 17th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    In all fairness, under libertarian ideology starving the government of resources is nearly an obligation, so they have to take all that oil and not pay for it.

  • 14. radii  |  April 17th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    … behind every great fortune
    … lies a great crime

  • 15. Spade  |  April 17th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    “Koch Industries also plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into right-wing organizations like Institute for Humane Studies, the Cato Institute, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Bill of Rights Institute, Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Federalist Society—all of them promoting the usual billionaire-friendly ideas of the free market, deregulation and smaller government.”

    I was only aware of “The Cato Institute,” not this other Cato Institute. Good to know that there are two…

  • 16. LordLeckie  |  April 17th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Excellent article, be interesting to see the roots of more organisations in the US both left and right wing to see what really led to the framework today surrounding lobbying and how they got to where they are now aside from vast sums of money.

  • 17. newsjunkie  |  April 17th, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Yasha, your flavor of repression just happens to be Obama.

  • 18. aleke  |  April 18th, 2010 at 12:46 am

    stalin rules

  • 19. tim  |  April 18th, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Great article, great journalism. Great to see that at every point the reader could find something contentious, you link right to your sources.
    Caveat- you would have a wider audience if you didn’t use 1930′s USSR, even sarcastically, as the positive rhetorical pole to Tea Party nonsense. And convincing people is the kind of politics you’re into.

  • 20. tam  |  April 18th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    interesting stuff but I suspect the list of US companies involved in international trade in the 30s who didn’t do deals with either Hitler or Stalin would be fairly short, the list of companies that refused to trade for ethical reasons shorter still…

  • 21. Fissile  |  April 18th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    @Tam, Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, and author of The International Jew, built auto/truck production plants in both Nazi Germany and the USSR. Hey, working both sides of the street is just good business.

  • 22. Anonkun  |  April 18th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    So if Koch organized the tea parties, can we also say the SEIU is responsible for most of the Democrat supporters?

  • 23. TomE2L8  |  April 18th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    If a person REALLY desires the truth, follow the flow of money and it’s origins. Have the Koch’s trademarked “The Koch Method”? It would be like the government legalizing prostitution–it would solve our deficit problem!!!

  • 24. Elmer Gantry  |  April 18th, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Might the Koches–and by extension Robert Welch–have been playing both sides of the fence, and covering their treasonous asses with Eisenhower-is-a-commie type rhetoric? That ’56 trip to Russia is tantalizing.

    I guess I don’t have to tell you guys the relationship between the John Birchers (esp. General Walker who was allegedly almost shot by Oswald) and the JFK hit.

    Richard Condon might have been on to more than we know.

  • 25. fatty  |  April 18th, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I am a Koch sucking sock puppet, hear me gargle: “What few realize is that the secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement…”

    Wrong, the Koch family provided funds to *subvert* the Tea Party movement. It may be hard to remember but the Tea Party movement started out as a much smaller group of anti-mainstream Ron Paul supporter types.

    The real deal was already over once you started hearing about it on AM radio (and FoxNews) and Rick Perry started showing up (and the Koch funds started rolling in)

  • 26. joe mccarthy's ghost  |  April 18th, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Right wingers are Communist subversives posing for propaganda purposes. Koch Industries is obviously a Stalin asset. These handwringing fear the commies types are clearly manipulated by the Soviet Union, which never collapsed but rather simply rebranded in the early ’90s.

  • 27. A-Lex  |  April 19th, 2010 at 5:33 am

    #26
    You’re just as delusional as the rabied senator that you derive you nickname from. To claim that Communism never collapsed in Russia one would have to stay stateside all his life (or rather lack of one, apparently), judging about the world by American TV.

  • 28. Chris  |  April 19th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    “I was only aware of “The Cato Institute,” not this other Cato Institute. Good to know that there are two…”

    Spade = BIG loser douche

  • 29. Jyp  |  April 19th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Typical. Phoney prick makes a wad working for the Reds.. gets home and sees anti-communism on the rise.. begins to fear he will be exposed.. therefore becomes a “fierce anti-communist”. If he was a red working for the capitalists, he would have become a “fierce anti-capitalist” when the threat of exposure loomed onto the horizon.

    Spread this info far and wide. The ‘Baggers ought to know who’s jerking their chains. Ya?

  • 30. Spelling Police  |  April 19th, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for a great article.

    By the way, there’s a mistake in the Tea Party Slogan you cite. It should read, “I would rather live under a bridge than live under socalism”

  • 31. sth_txs  |  April 19th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    An interesting article, but if the Kochs’ were truly free market, they would be donating shitloads of $$$ to the Mises Institute (mises.org) and even more for someone like Congressman Ron Paul.

  • 32. proletariat  |  April 19th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Meanwhile, on the American “left”:

    *crickets*

    *tumbleweeds*

    A person who sits idly by and watches as evil is committed, yet does nothing to stop it is far worse than the evildoer. The day the American “left” realizes this is the day they rise from complete irrelevance.

  • 33. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 19th, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    @ #31: EXACTLY! I don’t see these douchebags as being the Constitutionalist Libertarian type.

    Other than THAT, great exposé.

    PS: Show me a billionaire family whose origins of fortune AREN’T somehow related to criminal activity!

  • 34. FrankMcG  |  April 20th, 2010 at 12:05 am

    “Constitutionalist Libertarian”

    are, by their very nature, retarded.

    Liberians are retarded, but anyone describing themselves as “Constitutional” is doubly so. These people haven’t the faintest clue what the Constitution actually dictates. They push their platform of tribal warlord feudalism on the grounds that if it’s not in the constitution, then the government can’t do it.

    Well shit. Why do all those fancy lawyer types have to go to law school for years when all the laws you’d ever need fit on a 3 page document? I bet socialist public schooling is to blame!

    Idiots. Child minded idiots. Every last self-proclaimed Libertarian. Libertarians are people who, BY THEIR VERY OWN SELF-ADMISSION, do not possess the mental means or drive to differentiate between good government and bad government.

    Back to the Constitution. It is a list of RIGHTS that the law cannot infringe on. The whole “Bill of Rights” thing should have been enough of a tip off for anyone who evolved beyond the mentality of an angry teenager. “Constitutional Libertarians” are the same cloth of meth heads who try to weasel out of paying taxes by claiming that the income tax is illegal because it’s not in the constitution.

    Idiots. Call yourself a libertarian if it’ll impress some dumb college chick to sleep with you, but for god’s sake you have to grow up and join the adults in civilization sometime.

  • 35. ¡Torbellino!  |  April 20th, 2010 at 12:53 am

    If your historical data are correct, it seems to me that the only consistent ‘ideology’ we can assign to the Koch dynasty is opportunism. When Grandpa Koch couldn’t break into the monopoly capitalism of the 1920′s, he resorted to whoring himself to the Soviet state capitalists. When the family amassed enough wealth and a sufficiently sophisticated infrastructure to be contenders in the monopoly capitalism of the second half of the twentieth century in the US, they started bankrolling first anti-communism, then ‘libertarianism’. They played ball with whatever ideology was most profitable at the time. This article tends to confirm my suspicion that ‘libertarianism’, and, indeed, perhaps capitalism, are not ideologies, in the sense of belief systems developed from one’s values. Rather, they seem to be rationalizations and post hoc justifications, bought and paid for by the rich, to justify their ongoing, immensely profitable exploitation of natural resources, workers, and consumers for private gain. If indeed that’s the case, then rackets like the Cato Institute are little more than intellectual whores, and the tea-baggers are pitiable-but-dangerous dupes. I hope that they will eventually wake up to the truth, but I see little hope outside of international grassroots direct action to unseat the entrenched ruling classes and establish direct economic democracy along the lines of the Industrial Workers of the World.

  • 36. RecoverylessRecovery  |  April 20th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Frankie (who REALLY needs to go to Hollywood & just RELAX) tells us that;

    –“ ‘Liberians’ (sic) .. push their platform of tribal warlord feudalism on the grounds that if it’s not in the constitution, then the government can’t do it.”

    And yet just two paragraphs later he writes;

    –“Back to the Constitution. It is a list of RIGHTS that the law cannot infringe on.”

    So WHICH one of the two is it, Frankie baby? BTW, INSULTS are NOT the same as ARGUMENTS. Please feel free to re-insert your head up your anus now.

  • 37. captain america  |  April 21st, 2010 at 4:36 am

    i’m just excited about frank’s assertion that calling myself a libertarian might get dumb college chicks to sleep with me. (so far no luck with that.)

  • 38. FrankMcG  |  April 21st, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Torbellino has cracked the libertarian code!

    Libertarianism is indeed just rationalizing for a mish mash of “beliefs” ranging from naive to selfish to outright dangerous with the one common trait being that the each one of them believing that AUTHORITY is what’s holding them back from true greatness.

    You have dumb teenagers and college kids wanting a wonderland of sex, drugs, and no parents or Dean Wormer telling them what to do. You have dumb survivalists who want to live in a bunker or think that their guns will make them the boss once those pesky poslice and ATF are gone. You have dumb get rich quick types with a string of “business” failures blaming everything on pesky regulation. You have dumb spoiled rich kids who can’t stomach the idea of a collective peasant body telling them what to do.

    And finally you have SMART rich people playing up to the idea with positive buzzwords like “freedom”, “bootstraps”, and “self-reliance” so popular support for government barriers to their plundering will wane. The dumb, not rich types play right into this one.

  • 39. n  |  April 21st, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Y:

    re: “By the time he got out in 1933, Koch earned $500,000, which was a ton of money for a kid fresh out of college. This nut of money served as the foundation for the family’s future wealth,”

    I think you will find the successful patent suit litigation was huge source of the wealth for the Co. Some $250 million+ – priced in 1950 dollars

  • 40. FrankMcG  |  April 21st, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    And actually I could use some of this Koch public opinion hush money.

    Here’s my plan:

    1. Start up progressive political movement.

    2. In parallel, start up PR lobbying agency with no traceable connections to above political movement.

    3. PROFIT as Koch money pours into my lobbying agency defeat said political movement.

    Anyone want to help my business venture go public? We get to be Randian parasites in the truest sense of the word.

  • 41. Yukon King  |  April 28th, 2010 at 10:50 am

    “I would rather live under a bridge than live under socalism,” sayeth the T-baggers.

    One question, Dr. Morpheus: Isn’t that where most of them live now?

    Oh, Sarah . . . hahn hahn huhh hahn hahn . . . .

  • 42. Ivan  |  April 28th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    So, he remained silent until 1956, that is just after Uncle Joe died and Khrushev began de de-stalinization?

    Suspicious, at least.

  • 43. Dave H  |  April 29th, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Fact check: David Koch was the Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate in 1980 – Ed Clark ran for President. David K was put on the ticket after massive financial contributions, and this fact split the party (some called it the “Kochtopus”, as they were busily subverting other libertarian organizations around the same time). This split remina more or less today, with the majority of old line libertarians (“left libertarians”) no longer active in the Libertarian Party.
    The unfortunate thing is that this little piece of mis-information calls into question a whle bunch of other assertions made in the article – which it probably shouldn’t.

  • 44. Gary Ogletree  |  April 30th, 2010 at 10:50 am

    This would all be very clever if it had anything to do with the Tea Party. Stalin and Adolf are Obama’s mentors. We like the Sons of Liberty, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, etc. The real radicals.

  • 45. yikes  |  May 2nd, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    exile gets more delusional every day. yes, the thousands of tea party groups are all the product of a single mastermind

  • 46. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 4th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    “..the thousands of tea party groups are all the product of a single mastermind”

    Judging by the results, that single ‘mastermind’ must be GOOFY GOOF.

  • 47. Pa9c  |  May 6th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    А почему бы не сделать русскую версию сайтега?)
    Ато автоматический переводчик несет какой то бред(

  • 48. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 7th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Вы должны выучить русский язык, поэтому вам не нужно.

  • 49. Pa9c  |  May 9th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Можно было бы сказать прямее: “На йуху мы вертели русскую публику!”
    А на счет русского, дык это максимально приближенный к русскому олбанский)))

  • 50. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 9th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Это может быть правдой но давайте критиковать о черном “Король Лев”, а не.

  • 51. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 9th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    …потерять перспективу !

  • 52. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 9th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    “I would rather live under a bridge than live under socialism”

    Cheer up then, because you’ve got BOTH now.

  • 53. Bryan G  |  May 12th, 2010 at 4:26 am

    If Koch is who you say he is, Currently checking you information now, then both side have people who have at one time stood for something different. George Soros is very anti-capitalist but how does he get his money? So even if it is true your argument really doesn’t hold that much water and you still don’t fully understand what the premise of the Tea Party is about.

  • 54. Ally H-G  |  August 26th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Before writing my book about Russian Gypsy singer Nadezhda Plevitskaya I have studied the interbellum period throughly, in addition to what my elders in Berlin had told me about these times.
    Just like in Armand Hammer’s case, the idea that somebody important should get out of the Soviet Union in full health and not provide them with favours afterwards is fancifull.
    If anybody could access the tax records from the founding years they would probably contain holes, indicating that the foundation capital came from the Soviet Union, unless it can be proven that he recieved a lot of compensation after winning the litigation – which would then have needed to flow before he founded his company.
    Who paid for the seemingly substantial legal expenses while he was in the Soviet Union?
    Had big oil not done the dirty on him, he would not have gone to the Soviet Union; that’s the real lesson.

  • 55. Multitude  |  September 3rd, 2010 at 9:49 am

    In many respects, it’s not surprising given original and post-modern communist theorists express conditions of rhizomatic democracy that are consistent with the autopoietic uprising we’re seeing out of the decentralized tea party movement.

    Antonio Negri, Michael Hardt and other communist theorists speak at length in describing the autogeneration of such movements as a counter-offense to hierarchy. Given the progressive left has returned to its roots which are uncomfortably close to mid-century European national socialist movements, expressing the concept of state ownership of private property, state collusion and coordination of industry, state control of innovation, etc., it’s not surprising that a similar nomadic alternative would form.

  • 56. lew  |  September 5th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    news

  • 57. Last American  |  September 14th, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Any of you jealous, I want what the Jone’s have, whore-hound leftist ever stop to think that these bad, money hoarding, evil billioniares employee over 100,000 people worldwide providing for them an opportunity to live and support families? That they risk their ‘dirty money’ on business opportunties that they believe will make them even richer and oh yeah, employee more people to run their assets? Like it or not, you jealousites need to come to terms that the rich are who provide ungrateful, lazy ass wanna-bees like you a job and the opportunity to be rich, if you so desire. There is not one of you complainers on this page that would turn down the opportunity to be super wealthy. You are a liar if you say differently. I don’t like the Koch’s either, I worked for them for 10 years and to this day do not believe in the majority of their business tactics but I did appreciate the paycheck they provided me and for me its A paycheck that is the bottom line. You run off all these bad, bad, evil, wealthy people and you will one day find ALL of yourselves in the beans and cheese welfare lines!

  • 58. Walter  |  September 18th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Most people don’t understand the divisions of political ideology. They think that since Stalin was “left-wing”, he was accordingly “liberal”, but in fact have no clue of social policy under Stalinist Russia. For one, abortion was banned, the creation of large families was expected, and rewarded, “perversion”, such as lust, and sloth, were punished with jail time, and mental illness, which could include the wearing of tattoos and odd clothing, was also a punishable offense. Pornography was banned, and environmental regulations were shunned in favor of rampant industrialization, etc… In other words, Stalinist/Soviet social policy resembled American Christian conservatism, more so than liberal atheist capitalism. In fact, liberalism was a favorite target of the Soviets.

    To quote Andrei Grechko, Marshall of the Soviet Union,

    “Liberalization and democratization are in essence counter-revolutionary”.

    What most people fail to understand in the United States is “left and right”, and “liberalism and conservatism”, are two completely different spectrums unrelated to one another. Left and right can be summed up as communalism vs. individualism, which relates to economic policy (i.e. communism vs. capitalism). Liberalism and conservatism can be summed up as progressivism vs. traditionalism and applies more so to social policy. Therefore, it is quite possible to be a conservative leftist, or a liberal right-winger.

    Stalin, quite clearly, was an example of the former. He even applied ultra-nationalism and unparalleled-militarism (the Soviet army was the largest the world had ever seen, after all) to his strategy to encourage people to fight during WWII. WWII-era Soviet propaganda posters included phrases such as “The Heroes of Russia’s Past Will You to Victory”, and “Let’s Be Inspired in this War by Our Courageous Ancestors – Alexander Nevsky, Dimitry Donskoi, Kuzma Minin, Dmitry Pozharsky, Alexander Suvorov, Michael Kutusov”, with imagery of medieval Russian knights, and 17th century grenadiers a favorite theme. It could very easily be confused for German propaganda if not for the fact the Russian knights were generally shown trampling the iron cross of the Teutonic knights under foot. To add, the Soviet film “Alexander Nevsky” was highly nationalistic in fervor, and a favorite of the Stalinist government, used to inspire the Russian people against looming and overwhelming German aggression.

    An example of the latter (i.e. liberal right-wing) can be seen under the British Empire. There’s no doubt that thru their policies of personal property, aristocracy, and 3rd world exploitation, they were the embodiment of capitalistic economic policies (Napoleon even once quipped that Britain was “a nation of shopkeepers”), but their social policies were very much liberal, in promoting cosmopolitan society. For all intensive purposes, the British Empire shared far more in common with Nazi Germany, economically, but the common Brit cringed at the thought of traditional German conservatism. In fact, the untimely death of Kaiser Frederick III (Wilhelm II’s father, who was overtly liberal), was mourned in both Britain and the United States as a tragic defeat for continental liberalism. Magazines and newspapers in the Anglo-world at the time depicted Frederick III being carried off to heaven by angels, lamenting the passing of a great liberal monarch.

    In fact, Nazi Germany itself instituted what we would consider many liberal social and economic policies, such as the implementation of one of the most comprehensive welfare systems the world had ever seen, with the exception that it was only applied on a race-based level as according to Aryan ideology. However, most all Germans were guaranteed a job, and were provided with basic necessities such as food (the Nazi slogan upon coming to power was “Bread and Work”). A strong sense of community was imbibed by Nazism’s “Strength through Joy” policy, which included luxuries such as paid vacations, various festivals, and the implementation of the National Labor Service, which was a compulsory service responsible for the building of infrastructure such as the Autobahn freeways, and Berlin’s Templehof airport.

    In any sense, due to our own political tendencies, Americans have blended the two concepts into single ideologies; i.e. left = liberal socialism, and right = conservative capitalism. But the two labels do not at all go hand-in-hand.

  • 59. Wolfram  |  September 21st, 2010 at 7:11 am

    What about the obscene wealth of George Soros?

  • 60. Greg Thomas  |  September 21st, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    “it’s a historical fact that economic freedom best fosters innovation, environmental protection and improved quality of life in a society.”

    Gimmee a break, 2/3 of that quote is the biggest load of newspeak I’ve ever read. Economic freedom has always led to environmental destruction and reduced quality of life for everyone but the elite.

  • 61. Jym Allyn  |  September 24th, 2010 at 5:44 am

    As Eric Hoffer said (to the effect), “The most fervent Communists become the most fervent anti-Communists.”

    What Communism, the Czars, the Criminals that now run Russia, and apparently the Koch brothers seem to have in common is an authoritarian/criminal attitude that they can tell other people what to do without impunity.

    However, I would be curious as to how much ownership the Koch family and industries have in Halliburton. Brown & Root was the largest US construction firm in Vietnam during our war there, and also had as its largest single “silent owner” Lady Bird Johnson. Brown & Root is now a subsidiary of Halliburton so the pattern seems to be continuing that this almost all-consuming war is good for that construction company. It would not surprise me that much of Halliburton was owned by Koch since I am sure that the Koch family feels that war is good for their construction business.

    Is there any way for someone to find out about this?

  • 62. James Fazio  |  September 24th, 2010 at 7:03 am

    This is why America should teach History to our children; only teach the real history not the garbage that has no validity to todays’ importance.

  • 63. marta kaye  |  January 22nd, 2011 at 5:44 am

    Fred Koch helped to overthrow the USSR, and 2 years later Russia became communist, he than turned his attention to the hitlerian policies of the german leader in 1930. In 1934, along with Prescott Bush, duPonts and other wealthy with the American Liberty League,-[[the forerunner of the tea party,]]–to overthrow our government, oust FDR and implement the hiterian policies, faid, startd the John Birch Society, and now his sons have pcked uo wher Fred left off to overthrow the government useing the Tea Party they indeed help start, one section at a time, starting with Arizona. The German leader in 1930 Germany started the same way until he had control of all. 2012 will be a combination of Communism, Fascisim, & Socialism–called perhaps, Palinism, Kochism, or Paulism. Whom will we Heil to????????

  • 64. Just Wondrin  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Mike Malloy read your post last night. Good work! Spread the word.

  • 65. Steven Leitner  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Nothing terribly surprising or shocking in this story, at least not to a total suckup spineless shoe-shining chimpanzee like me. Every great fortune hides a great scandal. I really think the greatest scandal is that the USA people allow these fortunes to remain in one family, or same control, for many generations. We should do away with all income taxation during a man’s lifetime, and then at death, take it all away from the family so that all the children start in life equally. Inherited money, other than a small ‘rememberance’ from parents, should be prohibited. Why should a child that has done nothing to make money be allowed to corrupt the political system with funds he never worked to make?

  • 66. Virginia Lee  |  March 5th, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I am reading Jane Mayer’s August 26, 2010 article, Covert Operations, in The New Yorker and the Greenpeace (PDF) report, Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine.

    On Saturday, February 26, 2011, I participated in the Utah version of the American Dream rally supporting Wisconsin’s public employee unions and the Wisconsin 14.

    I now understand how the Koch brothers are financing politicians like Wisconsin’s Governor Walker, Congressional freshmen and fear-mongering, scapegoating media cheerleaders to divide and conquer the American middle class by pitting squeezed Tea Baggers against squeezed union members.

    Democracy itself is at stake.

    Thank you for your work.

  • 67. Stan  |  March 24th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Why is this sort of reporting now just taking place. Read W Cleon Skousen’s “The Naked Capitalist” to get an idea of how both sides of the aisle have been co-opted by this sort of power..

  • 68. PJ  |  March 25th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Interesting but the title doesnt relate to the article. No where does it show how stalin started tea parties. And your statements saying that tea parties are started and funded by the Koch parties & your stated organizations is false. I belong to two tea party groups and I know exactly how they started since I was there at the first meeting. No organization started it. We did. And we do not receive any funding from any group.

  • 69. Jara  |  March 26th, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    It is great to see the funds of such a butcher come to support everyday Americans in their effort to keep Democracy alive on the planet.

    Just a few days ago the Estonian Americans had their day of morning for the 1/6 of their population that Stalin had sent to Siberia. 30,000 in one night.

    Nice to see you understand the rare value in our founding fathers wisdom. We should do all we can to preserve it in a world that seems to have lost the love of freedom.

    Love and Inclusion is obviously the answer. Certainly not war.

    – Jara

  • 70. Rick  |  March 31st, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    This is so dumb. Republicans are evil, Democrats are stupid, Tea Partiers are stupid and evil, blah blah blah…does anybody get that the problem is not with the parties, but with the divisiveness their arguments are bringing to this country? When we ALL pull our collective head out of our ass and stop name calling, we might just surprise ourselves and get something accomplished. But, as long as we have an apathetic populace, shifty politicians, and irresponsible media, nothing will get better. It will only get worse.

  • 71. freedomlover  |  April 11th, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Can you believe there are people who don’t think the Koch Brothers should be called scum simply because they’ve made donations to charities? So, the “Koch Method”, their propaganda efforts and their lapdog Scott Walker (and I think there are more like him!) which DO make Charles and David scum (if not worse), re absolved of their scum status by making charitable donations? How pathetically idiotic!

  • 72. ThePatriot  |  April 13th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    So tea partiers are dumb radical nimrods, Huh?

    Then most of you folks believe that deficits and debt beyond our ability to pay must be great, right?

    And you call us stupid ????

  • 73. Puhua  |  April 14th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Very interesting.

    However I need to point out the errors. But my boss over here at the sock puppet dungeon at New Media Strategies just sent me a note, telling me to write that: The Kochs fell out with the Austrian school and the Kochs have spoken about their past with the soviet union. Its not a secret they try to hide.

  • 74. dhymaxion  |  August 2nd, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Uh huhhhh. Neatly explains the salivating and pandering going on over at RT America, The Alonya Show and others there for Ron and Rand Paul. Can we just surmise that they are most directly funded by the Kochs?

    Hitler was said to have been a “socialist” as well but what kind of true socialism is it that partners offshore investors such as Rockefellers, Bush, Standard Oil, Ford, GM etc to keep it going?

  • 75. Kyrie Eleison  |  October 22nd, 2011 at 11:10 am

    #72: “ThePatriot”

    Nice straw man there. Maybe someday Oz will grant your request.

    Oh, and nice ad hominem hominem hominem too Mr. Kramden … POW! Right in the kisser.

    What was it that Jefferson likened to the blood of patriots and tyrants? What was his suggested remedy?

    Maybe it would be better to come to grips that most of us have been lied to about some of our core beliefs in one way or another. It doesn’t make you stupid. It does not challenge your manhood. The bitterness you feel is called cognitive dissonance.

    It would be great if all of us could channel our energies away from going at each other’s throats and towards something better that actually works and can be enjoyed by everyone.

    Strict adherence to one paradigm or the other serves no purpose when both are in the wrong. This article happens to shed light on one of them. I’ve read many others that expose the other side, too.

    What purpose does all of this division serve, anyhow? Who is benefiting the most? It sure isn’t the average American. Let’s learn to admit when we’ve made a mistake and work it out.

  • 76. Noirsolaris  |  October 27th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    The Mighty eXiled Moderator would like to keep this comment in its entirety as an example of a dumbshit false flag attempt. Yep, the Kochs really are covert communists who support #Occupy and want everyone to get handouts. Also communist = national socialism = nazis = fascism.

    Dumbshit False Flag Alert! I don’t know much about the Koch brothers but the communist agenda is real. Especially with Fabian socialism which works slowly. They quote things saying that you give them little doses of socialism until one day they wake up to find they have communism. Why do you think they call it social security? Have you looked at our education lately?. What about the generations of people on foodstamps? They want you to be dependent on them so the people will beg for more socialist programs. The most controversial hot button topic right now is in regards to the Occupy movement, supported and openly admitted on the Communist Party USA website as to becoming a part of to push their agenda. Look at Stephen Lerner behind Day of Rage who is quoted saying he intends on “crashing the economy” With no jobs, high tuition, mortgages falling under then the people will be more than willing to crash the economy, deal the death blow to capitalism, turning our long gone republic into a communist country. Ever wonder why they like to call themselves democratic socialists? Look it up.

  • 77. Pentium  |  October 31st, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Funny how my message about the Koch’s polluting and destroying our Planet is totally lost!

  • 78. William House  |  January 21st, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    “I would rather live under a bridge than live under socialism” —tea bagger slogan

    Ironic.

    Democratic Socialism built the Bridge!

  • 79. Victor Gordon  |  March 4th, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Am I the only one whose takeaway from Mr. Levine’s article is that anti-market economies can’t survive without the aid of market economies?

  • 80. TruthBeTold  |  May 27th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Worse than that is my Deliverance anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about communism, which keeps me awake at night as I sleep in my parents’ garage.

  • 81. Jimmy1920  |  June 14th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    So let me see if I understand this right:
    If you sell to a communist state, you must be communist.
    If you sell to a fascist state, you must be fascist.
    If you sell to an African country, are you African?
    If you sell to a Muslim country, are you Muslim?
    If you sell to Israel, are you jewish? And if you sell to both Israel and Muslim countries, what are you?
    All this article proves is that Koch Industries and the Koch brothers will do what it takes to make money. And this comment proves that I will do whatever it takes to allow the Kochs to make money, including wearing a spiked buttplug dialed into the Dow Jones Industrial Average. I want that stock market to go up up up!
    There may be something unholy in that but hardly un-American.
    The bottom line on this overblown nonsense – so what?

  • 82. Mr. T  |  July 21st, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Yasha,
    I love the article. Thank you very much. I detest the Koch brothers, but I did gain some respect for William Koch. Even though the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, he definitely did the right thing.
    You know, its funny. All these Tea Party people continuously obsess over our national debt. They always talk so much about how we should hold the government responsible for balancing the budget and getting people back to work. It is really ironic that these people say all of this when its the Republicans and Tea Partiers in the House of Representatives are the people who keep blocking President Obama’s jobs plans because they don’t for example include tax breaks not only for companies who hire a bunch of people but insist that breaks be given to companies who don’t hire anyone. Counterproductive to your own message, if you ask me.
    Our nation could easily and painlessly pay off the national debt. Like one of the Tea Party people here in Virginia, Jamie Radtke’s campaign sign says “No more debt!” However, a sensible plan to pay our debt involves not cutting spending and laying off teachers, police, and firefighters. No, the way to do this would be to lower the corporate tax rate to zero and then set up an emergency deficit repayment account for the country. Then, cap salaries at $5 million dollars per year. Every penny a person makes over the amount of 5 million per year would be funneled directly toward paying down the debt. Think about it. Willard (Mitt) Romney himself would contribute $15 million per year towards balancing the budget. If we had the salary cap in place for just five years, we’d half the deficit. Doing this for ten years would just about pay it off!

  • 83. gerard  |  October 13th, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Your article did not mention that dumbshit online trolls are too retarded to research properly so they assume that the Koch family are the same Nazis as the Koch Nazi name they found on google. I however come from Planet Trollanus and my job is to lure one of you into our trollanutian trap so that you publish a piece wrongly claiming the Koch Industries Kochs are the same Kochs as the Nazi Kochs who made lampshades or whatever. Hopefully, you’re ignorant enough to assume that Koch is a rare name.

    My, we Trollanutians are so deliciously evil! Your days are number, AEC!

  • 84. James  |  October 17th, 2012 at 3:13 am

    This would be a great comment. Would have been…

  • 85. Stonehawk  |  November 30th, 2012 at 5:26 am

    This article is typical trailer trash envy of the rich.
    Quit your bitching and get a real job.

    If Communism was so great, why are all the Commies starving and living in trailers?

    Obama and his DemoCommie sheep are destroying America because of their ignorance and disbelief in free markets.

    When they finally collapse the dollar and break America into lawlessness, I’m gonna get me some Commies–yeah, for brothers, sisters and masters…from North Korea.

  • 86. Ben Davidson  |  March 25th, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    The only problem with Socialism is that it eventually fails when there is no one left to take money from.

    If I sell cars for a living, am I responsible for the beliefs or actions of the person I sell the car to? It’s a weak argument to claim the Koch’s owe their wealth to socialism because it was the Soviets who bought their product/services. If you really think about it, that is a proof of exactly the opposite. If Socialism was so great, why would they have needed the Koch’s? Too me, this sounds like an arguement supporting Capitalism. Sorry, just saying…

  • 87. Peter Principle  |  March 25th, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Hmmm. So Grandaddy Koch cozies up to Stalin and spends 20 years quietly helping the Soviets build their military-industrial machine.

    Then, suddenly, for no obvious reason, he breaks loudly with the party, denounces communism, and immediately tries to burrow his way into the emerging anti-communist patriot movement here in the USA.

    Sounds like a classic sleeper agent operation to me. And how do we know he didn’t recruit his own son and grandsons into his filthy Soviet-inspired conspiracies?

    After all, that IS the way your hardcore commie operates, right?

  • 88. Ben Pendleton  |  April 9th, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    great article

  • 89. john galt  |  September 2nd, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    the oil oligarchs received government subsidies, which makes the united states not a true laissez faire society, there has never been one, and the way we are going there will never be. the oil companies of the day were like utilities now, “privately held” and government controlled, so he turned to another customer, which was Stalin who had no choice but to buy this technology to compete with the west. Stalin was just a customer, and Fred apparently never agreed with Stalin, but why would he demonize a customer of Stalin’s power? besides it was always his intention to return to the states. he made a little amount of money, into a large amount of money only to be made in the united states. research these terms if you do not understand them.
    regards,

    John Galt

  • 90. flyn  |  October 14th, 2013 at 8:48 am

    SOMEONE IS LIVING IN THE DISTANT PAST:) OR ELSE LALA LAND. THE TEA PARTY WAS CREATED AS A REACTION TO SOCIALIST MARXIST COMMIE DEMOCRATS AND A CHICAGO PIMP GANGSTER IN THE WHITE HOUSE. THE TEA PARTY IS A CONSERVATIVE REACTION TO AMERICANS WHO HAVE BECOME BRAIN DEAD SOCIALIST MARXIST COMMIES. THE TEA PART IS A CELEBRATION OF THE FOUNDERS OF OUR CONSTITUTION. THE TEA PARTY DOES NOT REPRESENT DEMOCRATS WHO WANT TO ABOLISH OUR SECOND AMENDMENT. THE TEA PARTY DOES NOT REPRESENT OBAMAS SUPPORT OF KILLING AMERICANS WITH DRONES. THE TEA PARTY DOES NOT REPRESENT THE NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT. THAT ALLOWS OUR GOERNMENT TO ARREST AND DETAIN AMERICANS FOR ANY REASON FOR AN INDEFINITE AMOUNT OF TIME. THE TEA PARTY DOES NOT SUPPORT THE GLOBAL WARMING LIE. THE TEA PARTY SUPPORTS THE KEY STONE PIPE LINE. THE TEA DOES NOT SUPPORT OUR GOVERNMNET SPYING ON AMERICAN CITIZENS BY OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THE TEA PARTY DOES NOT SUPPORT THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR CONSTITUTION BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. THIS IS THE SHORT LIST OF WHAT THE TEA PARTY DOES AND DOES NOT STAND FOR YOU BRIAN DEAD BUGG EYED COMMIE BASTARDS.

  • 91. erin lish  |  October 21st, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Great journalism! WHY I WENT TO U OF MISSOURI SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM!!!! Please rock on! Give us another way to support you than PayPal.

  • 92. Ana  |  November 5th, 2013 at 9:48 am

    My sad comment defending the Kochs is laughable. The Koch brothers were Communist and as fascist as Henry Ford. Just because they did business in the Soviet Union makes them Communists hypocrites. On the other hand, George Soros was a Jew and I hate Jews. Why don’t you do an expose on that?

  • 93. P Smith  |  February 11th, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Hilarious twist to the Commie behind every bush phenom because this one is real and I, sadly, am a Koch butt-maggot. Quite a stretch to lick Koch ass every day, even for a dumbfuck suckup like me.

  • 94. Paul Roden  |  March 6th, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Lord Acton once wrote: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” What the Koch brothers and many of the 398 others of the 1% who own and control more than half of the wealth of the US want is absolute control, no taxes and no regulations of financial, commercial or other business transactions. They feel no compassion or obligation for the common good of the public, only the unhindered pursuit of profits. If they and their ilk had their way, they would just hire a manager to run the Pentagon and the criminal justice system and not bother with elections, bribing politicians and lobbying for smaller government, smaller taxes and fewer regulations. Funding election campaigns and bribing politicians is not cost effective. Only the rich should rule in their mindset.

  • 95. Slim Picnic  |  March 6th, 2014 at 9:19 am

    “Luckily, there was one market where opportunity beckoned—and innovation was rewarded: the Soviet Union.”

    This statement says it all. You are full of BS

  • 96. Andrew Rei  |  March 6th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Okay, apparently, some of my former confidential sources were slightly off about something. They had told me that Fascist Fred Koch sold weapons to BOTH SIDES of the 1905 Russian Revolution. But, according to the article above, he was a child when that happened. Perhaps it was Fred’s daddy that did it?

  • 97. Teapartyguardian  |  March 8th, 2014 at 5:11 am

    If only I wasn’t an obsessive racist unable to handle the truth

  • 98. Peter Cohen  |  March 17th, 2014 at 10:43 am

    There’s a key irony I wish the author had pointed out. Father Koch, is unfairly squeezed out by American refiners, during a time of continued laissez-faire and “free market” power plays. But why, after becoming rich because of the “commies,” would he then turns around to praise unregulated American capitalism, and despise the commies, Jews, and anyone in his way? The psychoanalyst might say that one way to deal with his rage and conflict is to identify with his aggressors, the American refiners. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. What’s the payoff? He’s lining his pockets. It trumps all morality. And he makes a mockery of “freedom,” strictly limiting the definition to his right to game the system.

  • 99. Andrew Rei  |  March 20th, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    The roots of the Tea Party actually go back to the Roaring Twenties. You see, the small group of wealthy Fascists began using the GOP back then to further their agenda. However, after the Wall Street Crash that they helped create occurred, they had to lay low until another GOP President got to Washington. They had to wait two decades. But, Eisenhower rebuffed them, and for good reason: “Ike” commanded hundreds of thousands of soldiers in WWII fighting AGAINST Fascists; why in the world would he help American Fascists? So, Fred Koch and his contemporaries considered “Ike” a traitor and started the JBS. And, eventually, the JBS birthed the Astroturf Teahadist movement. So, in reality, the Tea Party is more than nine decades old.
    Also, the Fascist GOP love to call the President a “Socialist, Communist and Marxist Kenyan”, even though it’s impossible to be a Socialist, Communist and Marxist at the same time, not to mention the fact that the country of Kenya didn’t even exist when BHO, Jr. was born in HAWAI’I in 1961 (it was British East Africa until they declared independence in 1963 and were recognized as Kenya starting a year later). Ask any Socialist, Marxist or Communist if our President is one of them. To a man or woman, they’ll tell you that he’s even close to being one of them.

  • 100. John Best  |  April 5th, 2014 at 11:20 am

    So if the Koch Brother’s father enabled Stalin to build refineries then wouldn’t they be culpable in Hitler’s tirade against the World and the deaths of 60,000,000 souls during WWII.

    In 1939, Hitler entered a trade agreement with Stalin whereby Stalin sent Hitler Petroleum products. See the book Deadly Embrace by Anthony Reed and David Fisher,1988. If I were the Koch Brothers I wouldn’t keep screwing with America and ripping off and destroying our economy and environment. Isn’t their money blood money?

  • 101. Marc Allen Johnson  |  April 5th, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    The glories of retarded teabaggers all spouting about individualism that was spoon-fed to them by the billionaire Koch brothers. And these fools vote. God help us all.

  • 102. Yahweh  |  April 6th, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    You are so full of awesomeness Yasha and I want you to know that we all know it too! I and all other Koch apologists are but butt plugging douchebags! Some dupes need help, please help us!

  • 103. Lou DePietro  |  April 7th, 2014 at 11:09 am

    So, makes me a complete fucking tool if I’m so stupid that I read this and think, “makes them no different than any other business.” Oops, just showed what a tool I am!

  • 104. frank  |  June 7th, 2014 at 10:59 am

    “Fred was living through the Roaring Twenties, a time of big business, heavy speculation and zero government regulation. Much like today, cartels were free to form and free to fix”

    You clearly haven’t looked at the numbers and laws that existed then. Also, Kudos for ignoring the federal reserve and their low interest rates, easy money policies during the 20s…

    NO regulations eh? so i guess the Prohibition wasn’t regulation? joke!

    http://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=360

  • 105. Koch Canned  |  June 23rd, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    IF YOU EVER THINK YOU’LL HAVE A LONG CAREER WITH KOCH — FORGET IT …. THEY USE YOU TO STEAL OIL AND MINERALS AND THEN THEY CAN YOU.

  • 106. Tom Steyer  |  August 8th, 2014 at 11:02 am

    HAHAHAHAHA!I am a Koch monkey and I leave comments on sites to protect my billionaire master Koch. His dingleberries taste soooo delicious! Thank you Master Koch!


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